It is with great sadness we share that our dear mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Martha Lena Perron Alexander, has died. She was born in Glover on August 14, 1931, and died in Glover on September 6, 2019.
Four Perron brothers migrated from Quebec to Glover in the 1920s and 1930s and began farming on Perron Hill, then called Clark Hill. Martha Lena Perron was one of the scores of Perron descendants who have lived in Glover since those brothers crossed the border. She was the seventh child of Ernest and Maria (Gagnon) Perron, with twelve more siblings following; sixteen of the children lived past infancy to adulthood. Like many children of French-Canadian families in the area, Martha spoke only French until starting school. She was educated her first eight years in the one-room Center School, just up the road from the family’s Shadow Lake Farm, where all but one of her classmates were her own siblings or cousins. When she and her sister Rita were children, they had a brief career at local events as a singing duo, though the performances ended when their father felt it was taking too much time to cart them around. Martha never lost her beautiful voice or her love of music.
After grade school, Martha went on to Barton Academy, and then graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Newport. (She was always proud of the A’s she earned in trigonometry!) She “worked out” on weekends and summers for the summer people on Shadow, Willoughby and Caspian Lakes, and as a nanny for families in New York and Connecticut, always bringing home the majority of her wages to help support the family.
After high school, she worked as a bookkeeper at Purina Grain in St. Johnsbury. At Urie’s Dance Hall near Shadow Lake, she met Wayne Alexander, who also had been raised in Glover; they married in 1951. After Wayne got a job in Burlington, they moved to Chittenden County and eventually settled in Jericho, where they raised their eleven children, including two sets of back-to-back twins. By age 29, Martha had 9 children, aged 9 and under, with five in cloth diapers — she worked hard! She raised her large family with love and patience abounding, using the homemaking and mothering skills she had seen her mother model; throughout her life, she never tired of cuddling a baby.
Martha always took care of the finances and liked to say that she kept the family out of the poorhouse. She looked forward to Paul Harvey on the radio each noon, and to Frank Sinatra crooning on the stereo. She loved reading storybooks aloud to the children, but for her own reading material, she preferred nonfiction, with a quiet half-hour set aside at the end of each day to read the newspaper in peace. As the children grew, Martha had more time to give outside the family, and volunteered for Hospice, Headstart, and Meals on Wheels.
In 1989, Martha and Wayne came full circle and returned to Glover, building a home on Perron Hill, on land that was part of Martha’s family farm. The bookkeeping skills she honed at Purina so many years ago came in handy in her work as an auditor for the Town of Glover and as treasurer for the Glover Historical Society. After Wayne’s passing, Martha lived in New Boston, NH with her daughter Lisa and her family for six years, returning to Glover six years ago to live with her daughter Joan.
Martha died just a few weeks after celebrating her 88th birthday, when she gathered with all her children and extended family. She has gone on to a well-deserved rest after living with Parkinson’s, spinal stenosis, and a stroke. Martha was a member of the Catholic church all her life and baked many a pie for church dinners over the years. She has long been admired by family and friends as a devoted wife and mother, and an incredible cook, baker and homemaker.
Martha was predeceased by her parents; husband, Wayne, in 2001; and her siblings: Marcel, Jeanne (& Tom Yester), Estelle Rita*, Leo (& Ruth), Louis (& Theresa), Marie Lorraine*, Jacques (& Pat), Claire*, Rachel (Choquette), and Alan; her Alexander in-laws: Warren & Pearl Alexander; Eleanor & Richard Jacobson; Elaine & Bernard Urie, Rebecca & Walter Munson and Richard & Lorraine Alexander. (* Died in infancy.)
She is survived by all her children: Joan of Glover; Edwin (& Sandy) of Fairfax; Lisa (& Dan Rothman) of NH; Cedric (& Susan) of Cabot; Laura (& Paul Geigle) of MA; twins Martha (& Chris Graves) of Richmond, and Mary (& Danny Peet) of Richmond; twins Paul (& Lesley) of Waterbury Center and Peter (& Jeanne) of Derby; Wesley (& Darlene Oxton) of Glover; and Julie (& Thomas Ouillade) of Nice, France. She leaves 26 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren (the 11th born two weeks ago), and over 60 nieces and nephews.
Eight of her Perron siblings are still living: Rita Haag of CO; Estelle Lillian Parmeter of MA; Yolande (Chamberlain) of St. Johnsbury; Cecile (& Ernest) Davignon of NH; Nelson (& Jinny) of AZ; Eddie (& Carole) of Glover; Walter (& Deanna) of CT; and Richard (& Marilyn) of Glover. She was predeceased by her Perron in-laws: Ray Haag and Dale Chamberlain; and is survived by Perron in-laws: Dennis & Linda Choquette of Glover, and Susan Cooper and Brenda Ham.
We will celebrate Martha’s life with calling hours at the Curtis-Britch- Converse-Rushford & Bouffard Funeral Home, 12 Elm Street, Barton on Friday evening, September 13, from 4-7 pm, with a funeral mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Barton on Saturday, September 14 at 11 AM, followed by a committal at Westlook Cemetery in Glover. She will be missed. May her memory be eternal!
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Glover Senior Meals, c/o Glover Town Clerk, 51 Bean Hill, Glover, VT 05839, or St. Paul’s School, 54 Eastern Ave, Barton, VT 05822. On-line condolences at curtis-britch.com. Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford & Bouffard Funeral Home, locally family owned and operated.